Joe Nelson


Joe Nelson serves as board chair of Sealaska and ex-officio trustee for Sealaska Heritage Institute. Joe has been a Sealaska director since 2003 and has been board chair since 2014. Joe has worked for the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau since 2004, and currently serves as Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management. He also serves as a director for Alaska Legal Services.

Understanding indigenous values, Joe continually advocates for younger voices in the boardroom and throughout Sealaska, knowing that decisions made today will impact generations yet to come. 

Joe is Tlingit of the Teikweidí (Brown Bear) clan from Yakutat.  He is also a Kwáashk’I kwaan yádi. His Tlingit name is Kaá Ax Gú. Joe grew up commercial fishing and subsistence living in Yakutat. After graduating from Yakutat High School, Joe completed a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA. He also has a juris doctorate from Loyola Law School.   

Joe, his wife Crystal and children, Job, Nora, and Jude live in Juneau.